Eden Hazard has a lot to do to reach the top of the world game.
When Jose Mourinho walked through the Stamford Bridge doors for the first time, he had a midfielder with a rising reputation.
Frank Lampard was developed and nourished by the Portuguese tactician, who would make him into one of the world’s best central midfielders.
Mourinho’s approach worked with Lampard, who scored 20 goals in five of the six following seasons and repaid his manager’s ample faith.
On Mourinho’s return to Chelsea for a second spell, he tried the same with Eden Hazard. He pulled the Belgian to one side, improving and using him as the most vital part of his masterplan.
It worked again, with Hazard dazzling and performing sensationally in the club’s title winning campaign of 2014/15.
However, the pair’s relationship became strained and things would eventually fall apart. Mourinho and Hazard had numerous fallings out — the former was sacked and the latter performed terribly through to the last few weeks of the campaign.
A healing period under Guus Hiddink ensued, yet Hazard still took 29 matches to score his first league goal of the season.
Now the Antonio Conte era has started at Stamford Bridge, kicking off in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over West Ham on Monday night. And it didn’t take long for Hazard to get off the mark this time round, scoring the opener just after half-time.
John Terry hailed Hazard post-match, citing the winger’s ability.
"He's up there with the very best in the world for me," Terry told Chelsea's official website.
"He's a world-class player and we're very lucky to have him.”
Is Terry right to label him amongst the world's best?
The 25-year-old evidently has the technique and talent to get to the highest level, but he doesn’t show that he wants it enough. His dedication and mentality is reasonably often questioned.
Having a complete off season after winning the PFA Player of the Year award so far shows there is no consistency from the winger to match the very best.
He has reached the level he is capable of in just one season as of yet. Hazard scored 19 goals, though that still represented the second best tally of his career, coming in behind his final season with Lille in France.
In the season Lionel Messi hit 25, he scored 73 in all competitions, whilst Ronaldo put home 53. Hazard is nowhere near that records.
If Hazard is to prove he can be amongst the world’s greatest, surpassing 19 goals should be a mere walk in the park.
Maintaining a level at the top of world football is incredibly difficult. It may even be more difficult than getting there in the first place.
Though with a new boss to impress in a fresh bond and a goal to kick off this season with, this is the perfect time for Hazard to justify bold claims like his captain’s.